Building credibility and trust starts with people


Gary Wall was a Form1 client before he joined the team as Service Manager (Sydney) in 2016. Here he talks about why building credibility and trust in a business drives growth and success.

At Form1 we pride ourselves on being the experts in essential services. We leave people feeling empowered to make smarter choices and our aim is to protect, educate and lead everyone we meet, from our staff and subcontractors to our clients and their clients.

The first time I met Steve Shirlaw (CEO, Form1) was at a site. I was sent to a hospital to review a report he’d done and I joke now that I was on my way there to get rid of him. That was 15 years ago.

When I met Steve he really impressed me. There was instant credibility and after that we engaged him to do all the repairs. When a national opportunity came up with our hospital group I spoke to my boss in Melbourne about Steve. Form1 couldn’t compete on a national level but he said, ‘Get him to price the State’. He won the contract for NSW and that was the start of him setting up Form1 in Sydney. After that I used Form1 everywhere I went. He worked on the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, the cancer treatment centre in Camperdown.

What really stood out to me was Steve’s honesty. If he saw a problem he’d highlight it, even if it caused waves. This energy filters through the whole company. I’ve dealt with many Form1 technicians and they all come from the same mindset. Everyone is encouraged to have a voice and highlight anything that’s required, even if that means pointing out a problem.

Good people work with good people

After we met, Steve and I became friends before we actually started working together. Then Steve identified a service role at Form1. I didn’t have direct experience in the fire protection industry but I understood the client base and their requirements very well.

Team building and creating the right environment in the service department has been a real focus for me since I joined. We’ve made structural changes to the business and now it’s all about growth. In 2017 we expanded, adding the team from Ryan Air Air Conditioning to launch Form1 Air and collaborating with GLS to launch GLS NSW, which was really energising. I’m happy Form1 is always growing.

Aside from day-to-day services, personal wellbeing and education are important to us so we’re always looking for ways to support our staff, in and outside of work. We’re developing more opportunities for the young guys and many of the office staff are completing courses, to improve their skills. We’re always talking to our staff about their other interests – one of the girls on our team has experience as a Graphic Designer and one of the boys loves photography – we’re always encouraging them to utilise their skills and explore their strengths. My son’s doing an apprenticeship at Form1 now which is great.

You spend more than half your life at work so I believe it’s important to create an environment that’s friendly and encourages people to go the extra mile. It’s been a breath of fresh air joining Form1. It’s not just a job. We care about each other and that’s the key to Form1’s growth – people are happy when they’re here and we’re a working family.

When we’re hiring we’re looking for people with the right attitude and a keenness to learn. We’d rather teach the right person than employ a person with all the skills in the world and find they’re not a match for our culture. When it comes to building credibility and trust in your business it all starts with the people.

Form1 Talent Reviews

Our passion for people comes through in everything we do. At Form1 our staff talent reviews are a great chance to expand the conversation with everyone about our company values. We map individual progress on four key areas – customer, company, team and self. This helps us identify where people are excelling in the business and where they need more support.